While Disney is struggling with the backlash over the upcoming release of their new Snow White feature film, the Canadian television network Global TV is going through something very similar. The main issue that drew an onslaught of criticism for Disney’s Snow White was the casting of Latina actress Rachel Zegler in the titular role, despite the character’s name; as well as her subsequent inflammatory interviews. Global TV, on the other hand, has recently premiered their new drama series Robyn Hood (their choice of spelling), a new adaptation of the old English legend Robin Hood, where the main character is a black female this time…
The series’ IMDB user rating currently stands at a not-so-flattering 1.0 after 4,000 votes.
That is the worst possible achievable score. Also, only five per cent of Google users ‘liked’ the Robyn Hood TV show.
The show stars black British actress Jessye Romeo. The cast features many other ‘people of colour’ as well, such as Ksenia Daniela Kharlamova, Nykeem Provo, or Meher Pavri; despite the original tale being set in 12th century England, when the population was almost exclusively white.
But, as we can almost expect at this point, the show’s creators did not care too much for the source material.
The Canadian man who conceived this odd piece of media goes by the pseudonym ‘Director X’. He has already taken to TikTok to accuse critics of his show of racism, saying:
‘Being that Robin Hood is actually a black woman this time, the angry nerd community is very upset…”A black woman’s gonna be Robin Hood, it’s gonna be horrible, how could black kids do Robin Hood?” Right? And these people tell you they’re not racist.’
It is true that the announcement has prompted some racially charged humour online. However, the very concept of the show is ripe for ridicule. For example, people have been making jokes about the ‘Hood’ part of the name of the English folk hero Robin Hood, as if it was standing for the African American vernacular term for ‘neighbourhood’, for many years. So, when an actual television show comes around based on this same comical concept, it is no surprise that some anonymous social media users will make off-colour jokes about it… And that is not to discount that actual valid criticism about the quality of the Canadian programme.
Furthermore, it is also valid to point out, as we did in a previous article about Disney’s Snow White remake, that progressive activists tend to denounce so-called ‘cultural appropriation’. Any filmmaker casting a white person as a historically black character would certainly be deemed racist—even if they themselves are from another culture. This was the case with the production of the 1935 American opera Porgy and Bess by the Hungarian State Opera back in 2019. That controversy is also described in the article linked below.
The Recent Trend of ‘Raceswapping’ in Western Entertainment
Snow White and Robin Hood are not the only popular figures in fiction, or even history, to ‘fall victim’ to the recent Western filmmaking trend of swapping their race or gender in the name of ‘wokeism’.
Ariel in the Little Mermaid, an old European children’s story by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, was portrayed by black actress Halle Bailey in Disney’s 2023 adaptation of the story. Cleopatra was also played by a black actress, Adele James, in the 2023 Netflix show Queen Cleopatra, despite the historical figure being white of Greek ancestry. Another production by Netflix, Bridgerton from 2022, shows black, Indian, and Chinese characters while taking place in the high society circles of London in the late 18th–early 19th century, which is also widely historically inaccurate, and a deviation from the original novel series from the early 2000s it was based on.
Perhaps the earliest prominent example of the ‘raceswapping’ trend was the 2015 smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton,
in which all the Founding Fathers of the United States, including the titular character Alexander Hamilton, were portrayed by African American actors. However, the novelty behind the concept at the time and the overall quality of the musical were enough to avoid backlash from critics and audiences.
In recent years, this has come to be viewed as a tired gimmick, or pandering to the woke ideology, and is generally received negatively by the audiences. The absurdity of the raceswapping trend has not been lost on all artists in Hollywood. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have announced they are releasing a special of their iconic cartoon comedy titled South Park: Joining the Panderverse, in which all of their main character’s race will be changed from white for satire. It is set to be released on 27 October on the streaming service Paramount+.
Robyn Hood creator Director X also commented on the recent controversies over changing characters’ ethnicities in films and TV shows. Evidently, he has a different take on the issue. He said, as quoted by CityNews:
‘Lately, there’s been a lot of anger over gender-swapping, race-swapping and it’s like the Little Mermaid with all this stuff, “Why are you changing stuff?” I never felt that way with Robyn Hood. I didn’t feel like I was taking a recent character. Robin has been interpreted a million different ways…But in their mind, this could only be a more woke agenda.’